The core element of our shading strategy is a ceramic football-shaped tile. Light yet robust, it is designed to be strung like beads on cables and suspended over public space in a variety of structural configurations and shading scenarios. The strung ball-tiles can hang by cables from concrete columns along sidewalks as well as in park settings. They can also shade public alleys or small urban squares by attaching directly to the sides of buildings. The perforated ball-tiles come in a variety of designs and colors to achieve a variety of compositional and environmental ambitions. Variations include embedded photovoltaic cells, motion sensors, and LEDs allowing tiles to function as autonomous and responsive light sources. At night they glow in patterns of color controlled interactively by sensors responsive to movement and any number of programmable inventions.
In this project the materiality of the ceramic balls–which includes recycled ingredients, and their simple molded production coincides with the economy and simplicity of vernacular traditions of molded roof tiles. It is able to draw upon experiences of common familiarity while doing so in a manner that refashions this familiar material according to up-to-date and emerging technologies–technologies that are themselves reshaping our experience of ourselves as an urban public.